Ben Allison & Think Free @ Jazz Standard 20-23

Ben Allison’s bands are built on the thrills of interplay, but a fetching simplicity has marked the bassist-composer’s music ever since he dropped his Seven Arrows debut in the mid-Nineties. Umpteen albums later, that mix of pop pith and jazz extrapolation gooses the action on Layers of the City, a new quintet date that’s emblematic of Allison’s p.o.v. The intricacy in play is delivered with a fully focused ease; whether it’s a swampy groove supporting a gurgling trumpet drone or an inventive and poised refraction of John McLaughlin’s “Follow Your Heart,” dude’s stuff flows in a kaleidoscopic way. Bet the tension sounds a bit like release at this four-night stand.

Village Voice

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